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Archive for February, 2018

FBI Alerted Months Ago about School Shooting Threat by YouTuber Named Nikolas Cruz

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI was alerted to an alarming comment on YouTube from a user named Nikolas Cruz, who posted months ago that he planned to become a “professional school shooter,” according to a Mississippi man.

Ben Bennight, a bail bondsman, said he flagged the comment on YouTube last fall and emailed a screenshot to the FBI, who paid him a visit and asked whether he knew the commenter.

“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed News. “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”

Cruz opened fire with an AR-15 Wednesday at a Florida high school, killing at least 17 people. 

Bennight said he was contacted again by the FBI after the shooting.

“I would like to think that they were already investigating this guy and they had him on the top of their radar and that’s how they ended up contacting me so quickly,” Bennight said.

It’s unclear how seriously the FBI took the threat and whether agents talked to Cruz.

The bureau declined to comment.

Cruz’s YouTune account was active until Wednesday evening, when it was finally deleted.

Former FBI Agent Breaks Down in Tears on CNN over Florida School Shooting

Ex-FBI Agent Phillip Mudd broke down in tears on CNN.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Philip Mudd, a former FBI agent and deputy director for the FBI’s national security branch, has interviewed terrorists and investigated some of the most atrocious attacks.

That experience didn’t prepare him for news Wednesday that 17 people were killed by a gunman at a Florida high school.

A CNN counterterrorism analyst, Mudd broke down in tears while talking about the attack with the network’s Wolf Blitzer.

“I have 10 nieces and nephews who are talking about bump stocks,” he said. “We’re talking about legislation. A child of God is dead. Cannot we acknowledge in this country that we can’t — we cannot accept this.”

Mudd tried to continue but couldn’t: “I can’t do it, Wolff, I’m sorry.”

Trump’s Legal Team Builds Argument Against Sit-Down Interview with Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s legal team is building an argument to prevent the president from a sit-down interview with special counsel Robert Mueller. 

Mueller has requested an interview with Trump as part of the investigation into whether the president obstructed justice.

Although Trump boasted two weeks ago that he has nothing to hide and will answer questions under oath, his lawyers are urging to him to avoid the interview because they fear he will lie and be charged with perjury.

Trump’s legal team plans to present three arguments against an interview, according to the Washington Times

First, they argue, Mueller has been given unprecedented access to White House documents and aides. Second, there is no stated crime. And third, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in 1997, during the Bill Clinton administration, that investigators must first exhaust all other avenues for information before turning to the president.

Schiff: House Committee Presented with ‘Ample Evidence’ Trump Campaign Colluded with Russia

Rep. Adam Schiff.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said there is “ample evidence” that the public has not yet seen to show Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and that the president obstructed justice.

“There is already, in my view, ample evidence in the public domain on the issue of collusion if you’re willing to see it,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, told reporters, USA Today reports.  “If you want to blind yourself, then you can look the other way.”

Schiff said the House committee has been provided with an “abundance” of classified information in closed-door meetings to indicate Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia.

Schiff pointed to various meetings between Trump’s campaign and people with ties to Russia who pledged to provide “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

“All of this is evidence of collusion,” said Schiff, a former federal prosecutor. “Now, I’ve never said that there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s for Bob Mueller to decide. But to say there’s no evidence of collusion, you’d have to ignore all this.”

Other Stories of Interest

House Committee Launches Investigation into White House’s Handling of Rob Porter Allegations

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Republican-led House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the White House’s handling of domestic violence allegations against former high-ranking official Rob Porter.

The committee made the decision Tuesday evening, just hours after FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, contradicted the White House’s version of events, The Hill reports

The committee wants to know how Porter maintained his job and continued to work without security clearance after the allegations surfaced. 

White House officials originally suggested they didn’t know about the allegations until shortly before Porter resigned, claiming the FBI had not finished its background report on him.

But Wray testified that the bureau finished the background report in July and closed the file in January, which means the White House would have known about the allegations weeks before he resigned. 

Porter did not resign until photos surfaced last week showing an ex-wife with a black eye.

President Trump, who defended Porter, declined to answer questions from reporters today about the Porter case. 

Russia Expected to Ramp Up Campaign to Meddle in America’s Mid-Term Elections

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

U.S. intelligence agencies warned Congress that Russia is expected to ramp up its campaign to meddle in America’s midterm elections in July.

The agencies issued a worldwide threat assessment that predicts Russia will use hackers and social media to target the elections. 

“We assess that the Russian intelligence services will continue their efforts to disseminate false information via Russian state-controlled media and covert online personas about U.S. activities to encourage anti-U.S. political views,” the assessment reads.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia was emboldened by its ability to influence the 2016 presidential election.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations,” Coats said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “is likely to increase his use of repression and intimidation to contend with domestic discontent over corruption, poor social services, and a sluggish economy with structural deficiencies,” according to the assessment.

Breaking: At Least 3 People Shot Near NSA Headquarters in Maryland

The NSA headquarters in Maryland.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

At least three people, including a police officer, were shot this morning near NSA headquarters in Maryland, and one suspect is in custody, according to local media reports.

The shooting broke out around 7:15 a.m. near the visitor’s gate at Fort Meade, Fox 5 reports. 

None of the injuries appears to be life-threatening, WBAL reports

Route 32, which is adjacent to the headquarters, was closed both ways.

The FBI is on the scene.

Details were still murky at 8:45 a.m.

FBI’s Wray Contradicts White House Account of Alleged Abuser Rob Porter

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a previous congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The head of the FBI contradicted the White House version of events surrounding the handling of physical abuse allegations against former top aide Rob Porter, who resigned a week ago after denying the claims made publicly by two ex-wives.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the bureau finished a background report on Porter in July and closed the file in January, which means the White House would have known about the allegations weeks before he resigned. 

White House aides have claimed the FBI and other intelligence agencies had not completed the background checks, which included the domestic violence allegations.

Wray said the FBI did everything right.

“I’m quite confident that in this particular instance, the FBI followed established protocols,” Wray told the committee.